FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Despite having a slightly slower call volume than usual, the Fort St. John Fire Department still kept busy.

“We met with the BC wildfire base, their para-attack unit crews. They came by the fire hall a couple of times over the month of May to introduce themselves and kind of build that relationship, which is vital for when we see each other in the field,” Matt Troiano, deputy fire chief, said.

The fire department had just over 309 hours of training throughout the month, including inter-agency training.

“Our fire department prioritizes our training. It’s the way that we prepare ourselves for emergency response. It’s definitely a focal point of our operations here from day to day,” Troiano said.

“Typically, seeing that amount of training hours, it might seem like it’s overshadowing everything else, but that’s kind of what we’re here to do. We’re here to be able to prepare ourselves so that when we do go to those emergency incidents, we are able to perform adequately.”

Troiano says that while they continue to move past the implications of the pandemic, they have noticed a significant uptick in fire hall tours.

“We have a couple of spots every week that our fire prevention officers allocate time so that they’re able to help teach the young kids about the importance of being safe,” Troiano explained.

The department had seven public education events in May.

Over 100 fire inspections were conducted by two fire prevention officers last month “to make sure that everything is safe and up to code for our city and for the public.”

The department attended 36 fires and alarms, 29 medical calls and 18 motor vehicle incidents.

In addition, they attended nine “other” calls, which could have included rescue calls or RCMP assist calls.

Troiano wanted to add the importance of grilling safety as the summer months are upon us.

“Check our Facebook page. We have some tips for just making sure that everybody’s staying safe out there,” he said, “Now that they’re starting to be able to enjoy barbecue weather, we don’t get any of those types of fires in the near future.”

Shailynn Foster

Shailynn Foster is a news reporter for Shailynn has been writing since she was 7 years old, but only recently started her journey as a journalist. Shailynn was born and raised in Fort St. John and she watches way too much YouTube, Netflix and Disney+ during the week while playing DND on the weekends.